Super Bowl Connections

Just two players on either Super Bowl roster have significant Packer ties, and both are Patriots. One will be fondly remembered by Packer fans. The other, well that's another story.<p>

G Joe Andruzzi – A 7th year pro out of Div. III Southern Connecticut State, Andruzzi was acquired by the Packers as an undrafted free agent on April 25, 1997. Andruzzi was tabbed as one of the "suprises of training camp" by then-GM Ron Wolf, and made the opening day roster. He was inactive for all 16 regular season games and three postseason games including Super Bowl XXXII.

Andruzzi's Packer career began to take off in 1998 after a successful stint with NFL Europe's Scottish Claymores. He played in 15 games and started one in '98, making his first NFL start on Dec. 7 in Tampa. Andruzzi and saw action in the Packers' divisional playoff loss in San Francisco. In'99 he Andruzzi got three starts at left guard before aggravating a previous knee injury in week 8. The MCL injury turned out to be the end of his season, as well as his final regular-season game with Green Bay. He returned from injury and participated in training camp in 2000, but was waived in the final cut before the regular season, Aug. 27. He joined the Patriots in 2000.

The owner of a sports bar on Holmgren Way in Green Bay, Andruzzi was a popular sports-talk radio guest during his stint with the Packers.

DB Chris Akins – A short but controversial stint with Green Bay began in 2000 and then went down in flames midway through the 2001 season. The safety was originally drafted out of Arkansas Pine Bluff by the Packers in the seventh round of the '99 draft with a pick obtained from the Rams for Steve Bono. Akins was subsequently signed to the practice squad, then later cut and picked up by Dallas. He played eight games for the Cowboys before the Packers re-signed him off waivers Nov. 1. He played in two games in place of the injured Tod McBride.

So far, so good. Akins was praised prior to the 2001 season by then-secondary coach Bob Slowik: "Chris is a very good football player who has real speed, toughness and hitting ability…. With his work ethic I expect that he will continue to get better and better."

In 2001, Akins saw action in the first eight games, mostly on second team and some action as backup safety. He recorded 12 tackles and broke up a pass, maintaining a fairly low profile as a dependable sub – until the Nov. 12 game vs. Atlanta at Lambeau Field.

To say things weren't going well for the Pack would be an understatement. LeRoy Butler was knocked out of the game with the shoulder injury that would eventually end his career. The Packers had pulled to within 16-13 on a Ryan Longwell field goal, then got the ball back on a Falcons' turnover. Green Bay couldn't capitalize on the turnover, and had to punt the ball back to Atlanta. The defense appeared to hold again, with the Falcons' facing third and long from its own 20, when Akins – in for Butler – committed a personal foul that gave the Falcons a first down at the 35. Atlanta took advantage of Akins' gaffe, marching down field for a 12-yard Chris Chandler-to Brian Finneran TD. "

That was bad enough, but it was what happened after Akins penalty that bought him a ticket out of Green Bay. After the next play, Akins had an angry confrontation with coach Mike Sherman on the sideline, appearing to jaw at the coach over the penalty.

Sherman explained the situation after the game:

"I spoke to the official on what exactly happened," GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said. "I wanted Chris out of the game immediately, but we couldn't get their attention in the huddle. There was another play where they ran the ball to our defensive right which he was a part of a gang tackle on that side.

"At that point I got him out of the game and wanted to talk to him about the penalty situation which certainly was a costly penalty. He was still emotional from the play that just occurred I'm sure and we had a discussion there that will end up with me coming back later and discussing it even further. That was the end of it."

The Falcons' new life and subsequent TD turned out to be a killer. Green Bay scored again on a 39-yard Favre-to-Antonio Freeman touchdown pass, but it was too late.

Two weeks later, Akins was gone. He was picked up by the Cleveland Browns, and returned to Lambeau in a preseason game during the 2002 preseason.

Two members of the Panthers' coaching staff once worked the Lambeau Field sidelines. Defensive assistant Ken Flajole was part of Mike Holmgren's staff in 1998, before leaving with the head coach for Seattle. Defensive coordinator Mike Trgovac was an assistant during Ray Rhodes' single season in Green Bay. Trgovac was with the Redskins in 2000-2001, joining Carolina in 2002.


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